Brewer students experience Maine logging industry

Published: Aug. 1, 2023 at 6:40 PM EDT
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BROWNVILLE, Maine (WABI) - What’s going on in your neck of the woods for Brewer High School students? They’re out in Brownville, Maine, getting the first hand experience of what it’s like to be part of the Maine logging industry.

“You can’t just kill trees unless you’re clear cutting, which we aren’t. We’re basically weeding a garden. It’s just like you do at home. You take out the trees that are causing other trees to not be able to grow so they can,” said Trevor Levensalor, student.

Students have been earning credits through a partnership with the Maine Department of Education, the Maine Tree Foundation, the Appalachian Mountain Club, Brewer’s Outdoor Education Program, and Huber Corporation of Old Town.

Students are hard at work operating heavy machinery as if it was a typical day on the job.

“It is not cheap. It’s very high maintenance equipment. And, we are just really excited that the kids aren’t just learning skills in the equipment. They’re learning about all the trees, they’re learning about the science behind it, the history of the area here, and they’re also learning life skills. They’re learning how to cook and clean and every part of your life but you’ll need communication this one,” said Michele Maybury, student instructor

For six weeks, students have learned multiple skills in forestry, ecology, and logging at their base camp at Katahdin Iron Works near Brownville. Mark Savage is the head instructor who helped bring the program to life to help give students more career options after graduation and to spark an interest in forestry.

“By the time people get to be 20 to 25, they’ve kind of decided what path they’re going to follow. And, if we don’t introduce those kids in high school or even younger, into different aspects of the woods, they’ve really never got to understand them. Right now, these two kids take great pride in learning. What’s happened here, kids loving to learn, and in a way that they don’t normally do,” said Mark Savage, head instructor.

These skills help students pursue careers beyond graduation and also will help grow the logging industry for many years to come. Savage hopes this program can grow statewide to benefit all Maine students.

“I want a campus site away from Brewer High School where we can have, you know, a dining room, kitchen, bath house, bunk houses, the whole nine yards so we can have kids from across the state. This is not just a Brewer program. We want this to be a state of Maine program,” said Savage.